The only two paid developers of the popular open-source e-mail client Thunderbird are quitting. This comes barely three weeks after Mozilla spun off Thunderbird to its new subsidiary, MailCo, in a restructuring.
Thunderbird engineers Scott MacGregor and David Bienvenu are leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Both developers said that they plan to continue working on Thunderbird as volunteers, but neither one of them will go to work for MailCo.
Understandably, the simultaneous departure of two core members of the Thunderbird team have many people worried about the future of the application.
However, it appears that a lot of the work on Thunderbird is done by volunteers, so the mid- to long-term impact might turn out to be negligible.
To head off speculations of Thunderbird's demise back when Mozilla announced it was spinning the project off from the Firefox camp, Bienvenu posted an interesting and detailed look at the Thunderbird team and the breakdown of labor. As it turns out, quite a lot of the work on Thunderbird falls on volunteers.
- 2 Full Time Mail developers (David and Scott)
- ~ 12 active mail developer volunteers (including Seamonkey Mail contributors)
- 4 Thunderbird front end peers & module owners
- over 35 localizations done entirely by volunteers
- 8 back end peers & module owners.
- Over the last six months, 56% of the mail patches originated from community members
- 93 different developers contributed at least one patch over that period.
To read more:
- Thunderbird still has potential to fly despite developers leaving the nest (Ars Technica)
- More Thunderbird changes: Core coders depart (News.com Blog)
- Thunderbird developers quit Mozilla (PC World)
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.